How to Propagate Jackpine (Pinus banksiana)

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Jackpine Pinus banksiana cone

This guide is meant to teach you how to propagate Jackpine (Pinus banksiana) and hopefully make it easier for you to sell them at your own nursery.

Hardiness Zone: 2 – 6

Soil Type: Prefers dry, acidic sandy soils. Also tolerates loams and peat.

Water: Low. Natural Drought Resistant

Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade

Jackpine (Pinus banksiana) is a coniferous tree hardy up to hardiness zone 2. It’s recognizable by its scaly bark and its sturdy branches, and needles. Jackpine is a dominant tree species in the southern boreal forest, often found growing in sandy patches.

They are valuable trees and often a top choice for reforestation in the boreal forest. As much for crown land as for small private tree plantations.

Commercial value

Pinus Banksiana produces a heavy, moderately hard wood. The top commercial uses for jackpine trees are lumber, pulpwood, fence posts, electrical poles, mine timbers, and railroad ties.

Furthermore, there is also value in harvesting seeds, and growing seedlings to sell to nurseries and individuals.

Wildlife Value

They’re a great tree that provides food and cover for many boreal forest mammals. For example, squirrels, chipmunks, mice, and voles regularly eat their pine cone seeds.

Additionally, larger mammals such as snowshoe hares, white-tailed deer, and caribou like to eat what they can off jackpines. Moose love to eat lichens growing on their bark.

Best Way to Propagate Jackpine

Seed

One sure way to propagate jackpine is by planting its seeds. Jackpine seeds are hidden inside their tightly shut cones, which only release under certain conditions.

If you have jackpine stands near you, all you need to do is harvest the cones and place them under dry heat, at about 122F to watch them open.

Alternatively, you can order jackpine seeds online here at treeseeds.

Jackpine Seed Germination

  • Soak in water for 24 hours
  • Add into a mix 50/50 potting soil sand mixture
  • Wait 1-2 weeks for germination

Jackpines are fairly easy to germinate and have a high success rate even without pre-treatment.

Cuttings

One of the best ways to propagate Jackpine is by taking cuttings. There are two different times of the season to take them, softwood cutting season and hardwood cutting season.

Very important: Take your cuttings only from young, healthy plants. Older trees lose their ability to regenerate over the years.

When you take hardwood cuttings from a jackpine, you want to cut them after the first few hard frosts in fall or early spring when birches and maples begin to well. Alternatively, jackpine cuttings during winter, while the tree is dormant, is also fine.

Hardwood Cuttings Period
  • First, take some hardwood cuttings off the main stem, really short at about 2-4 inches ea.
  • Make sure the width of the cutting is not too thin, 1/4 inch width is fine, then cut or tear them with a heel*.
  • Remove the needles from about half of the cutting.
  • Wound the base of the cuttings with a vertial line on opposite sides, about 1 inch long.
  • Dip in rooting hormones and then plant into your sandy propagation beds.
  • Keep watering the rooting medium, sand shouldn’t be too wet but it should stay moist.
  • Roots are slow and can take longer than 8 weeks to grow.
  • For winter, no need to cover, the snow isolates very well.
heel cutting
*Heel

Softwood-Cuttings

First, when you take softwood cuttings for jackpine, you wanna cut them about mid-summer when the tree is actively growing.

Simply said, the process is the same as the hardwood cuttings, except you need to keep in mind they are faster growing but more sensitive.

Because of their tenderness, softwood cuttings die much faster than hardwood cuttings. Moistures levels are much more important to keep in check when you root cuttings at this stage.

  • Take your jackpine softwood cuttings at 2 inches each with a heel if possible. 
  • Wound them with a vertical line at the base.
  • Water the tips, pat them dry then dip them in rooting hormone.
  • Poke holes in your rooting medium
  • Plant them, carefully not to remove the rooting hormones.
  • Moisturize your rooting medium regularly.

Recommended rooting medium: Peat moss or sand with perlite mix.

All in all, jackpine softwood cuttings are slow to root and generally take 6-8 weeks.

Happy Jackpine propagating!

Got any questions or tricks to add? Don’t be shy to comment below and spark up a conversation!

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